Murray Leinster

(June 16, 1896 — June 8, 1975)

Murray Leinster was a pen name of William [Will] F. Jenkins, a life-long Virginian and a pro writer who was one of several writers called the Dean of Science Fiction. (He was also, for 25 years, the Most Senior SF Writer.)

He was Guest of Honor at Discon I, the 1963 Worldcon. He also won two Hugo Awards: the 1956 Best Novelette Hugo for "Exploration Team" and the 1946 Best Novelette Retro Hugo for "First Contact".

He began his career as a freelance writer before World War I writing for the pulps in all genres: detective, western, jungle, romance, and, SF. His first science fiction story, "The Runaway Skyscraper", appeared in 1919 in Argosy. Through the 30s he continued to write across the genres.

In SF, Leinster is credited with a number of firsts: "Sidewise in Time" published in Astounding in 1934 was the first alternate history story, (and the Sidewise Award is named in honor of it.) "A Logic Named Joe" written for Astounding in 1946 was the first story to not only feature vaguely realistic computers, but also something like the Internet, and even more importantly, to begin to fathom some of the changes it would bring to society. "First Contact" from 1946 seems to be the first appearance of a universal translator in science fiction.

He was one of the few pre-Golden Age SF writer to survive in the Campbell era of higher writing standards. He published over three dozen stories in Astounding and Analog under Campbell's editorship, including most of his best work.

He was also an inventor, best known for the front projection process used in special effects. He won the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award in 1969 and was GoH at the 1968 Open ESFA and "Dead GoH" at First Contact in 1994.

He used several other pseudonyms, including William Fitzgerald, Will F. James, Hal Jenkins, Louise Carter Lee, and Herbert Shappiro.

See http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/leinster_murray for more on his career.